For Rita Longa’s centennial, an exhibition was opened at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Museum of Fine Arts), in its Cuban Art Building.
Rita Longa is a paradigm of Cuban contemporary sculpture. In celebration this year of the centennial of her birth, an exhibition of the most representative pieces of her career was opened at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Museum of Fine Arts), in its Cuban Art Building. It is an excellent opportunity to rediscover the exquisite creations of one of the most popular artists, without doubt, in the country.
Rhythm, movement, grace, refinement and elegance are some of the qualities that define the organic quality of the pieces created by this artist, who died in 2000.
Influenced by Art Deco, she had the vision of conceiving art as an integral project where sculpture, painting, design or architecture, are merged. Sculptural work in public locations, with a clear environmentalist vision, was a predominant tendency in her artistic conceptions.
Twenty-eight works from the Museum’s collection, the artist\'s family or other institutions make up this exhibition in her honor. Curatorship was in the hands of art specialists Margarita Ruiz and Ernesto Cardet, who were also close friends of the artist.
In exclusive statements to this reporter, Cardet assured that the pieces in this exhibition are a clear representation of her fertile work life, “from her Autorretrato (Self-Portrait) of the 1930s up to Figura (Figure), a work made in black marble at the end of her life.”
“We intended to highlight the different artistic and thematic languages that characterized Rita\'s work during 68 years of artistic life, and the diverse materials used in her pieces, such as wood, stone, plaster and marble,” he pointed out.
In addition, Moraima Clavijo, director of the Museum, in words included in the exhibition catalog, highlighted the transcendence of Rita\'s work:
“The diversity of materials and the impeccably executed pieces speak to us of the artist’s absolute mastery of the trade and exceptional talent, together with the modernity that prevails in all her work. Her expert skill is recognized by all, and her pieces, placed at emblematic locations in the capital and around the country, remind us of the transcendence of a creation, perpetuated in the materials themselves that shape it.”
Rita Longa is the author of pieces that have become symbols of the physical environment to which they belong, such as the deer of the Grupo Familiar (Family Group, 1947), located at the entrance to the Parque Zoológico de La Habana (Havana Zoo); the image of the so-called Virgen del Camino (Virgin of the Road, 1948), which is today the symbol of the Havana municipality of San Miguel del Padrón; the Ballerina (1950), which was placed at the entrance of Cabaret Tropicana; the work Forma, Espacio y Luz (Form, Space and Light) which since 1953 presides over the main facade of the Cuban Art Building of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, or the Aldea Taína (Taíno Village) of Guamá (1964), located in Ciénaga de Zapata in the south of Matanzas province.
The image of Amerindian Hatuey, created by Rita, is also well-known, as it is the label of the famous Cuban brand of beer that bears this name.
Rita Longa made more than 400 sculptures, including those in small format, scale models, and those of great size. According to what scholars and experts of her work have said, in the Americas it is difficult to find a sculptress with such an intense artistic career.
Awarded the 1995 National Plastic Arts Prize, this prolific sculptress participated in more than ten collective exhibitions in New York as well as in other European and Caribbean countries. She also had diverse personal exhibitions organized in Cuba from the late 1920s until 1997.
Translated by Roberto Espí Valero
Revised by Susana Hurlich